Please note

Because of the lack of published trowel and masonry tool histories, the information here is based on other sources that may be less reliable and certainly are incomplete. These include eBay and tools that I purchase myself that are the starting points for my research. I will write what I know as I learn it. If what you read here interests you, please check back often and look for revisions and corrections. Scanned catalogs are either mine or by Rose Antique Tools and used with permission, and are on Google Docs as pdf files. A few are links to other websites. Your photos and information are welcome. Please click on any picture to enlarge it. Comments are welcome, but any with links will be deleted as possible spam.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hand Saws for Stone Cutters and Masons

Hand saws have been used to cut stone since antiquity, and were made as recently as 1940 by Joseph Tyzack, Meersbrook Works, Sheffield. The 2-man saw in the bottom picture is French.

J. Tyzack 1940 Catalogue

Étival Clairefontaine, France
Image du Blog
Source:  sur centerblog.
This YouTube video shows retired stone cutters demonstrating how limestone blocks were cut in the 1950s.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

History of United States Cutlery Co.

United States Cutlery putty knives, 1932
United States Cutlery Company manufactured putty knives, scrapers, cutlery, and a variety of knives. They operated from 2 and 10 Main Street, Belleville, New Jersey, next to Newark, near the Passaic River.

A 1923 announcement in the trade publication Platers' Guide said, "United States Cutlery Co., Belleville. N. J., has been incorporated with capital stock of $300,000 and has purchased the plant, machinery and raw stock of the Knickerbocker Mfg. Co., that city." Knickerbocker also made cutlery.

Elmer Abraham Greenhall (1899-1973) was United States Cutlery's production manager. Mr. Greenhall  was a Stevens Institute of Technology graduate and mechanical engineer from Brooklyn, NY, and lived in Newark, East Orange, and West Orange, NJ.

United States Cutlery Co. was still in business for at least part of 1932, but had closed by 1934, according the the Belleville city directory and other sources. Their major competitor Smith & Hemenway (Red Devil) was only a few miles away in Irvington, NJ. There is an old brick industrial building on the site and Main and Mill streets. It dates to 1940 according to a real estate listing, but could be older.

I found references to an earlier United States Cutlery Company, incorporated in Trenton, NJ, but it appears to be unrelated. It was a trust formed in 1892 by 4 cutlery manufacturers from New York and Connecticut.      

Elmer A. Greenhall, 1920

United States Cutlery putty knife, cocobola handle

Sunday, May 22, 2016

History of W.A. Tyzack & Co.

W.A. Tyzack & Co. was a Sheffield, UK manufacturer of crucible steels, scythes, bill hooks, files, chisels, hammers, hand saws, trowels, other tools, and agricultural machine parts.

W.A. Tyzack & Co. originated from the division of the William Tyzack (1781-1858) family tool-manufacturing into 3 competing businesses, following the death of his son Ebenezer Tyzack (1806-1867). Ebenezer's son William Alexander Tyzack (1836-1889) was the founder, with his sons William (1864-unk.), Ebenezer Bernard (1870-1903), and John Stanley Tyzack (1878-1941) following him into the business. William's son William Alec Tyzack (1895-1979) and John's son Donald S. Tyzack (1913-1992) entered the business in time.

Stella Works (picture Don Tyzack)

The firm operated at Stella Works, Hereford Street, Sheffield, initially using water power from Porter Brook. In 1948 they purchased file manufacturer Ibbotson Brothers & Co. and their Green Lane Works on the River Don. They operated both locations until 1986, when they sold Stella Works and moved to Green Lane Works. In 1987, W.A. Tyzack & Co. took control of  rival W. Tyzack, Sons & Turner. A management buy-out in 1989 was followed in just 2 years by receivership, with parts of the business sold internationally.
W.A. Tyzack & Co. gauging trowel

 A 1968 photograph of Stella Works, just north of the St. Mary's roundabout, is at Picture Sheffield. Stella Works was demolished and the streets reconfigured, and there is a car park on the site. To get a sense of how densely Sheffield factories were built, see this Google Street View of Sylvester Gardens, a few blocks away.

Green Lane Works is being preserved. 2012 photographs of Green Lane Works are at Sheffield History.

W.A. Tyzack & Co. Ltd Stella Works, Eyre Lane and environs, Sheffield, 1951. This image has been produced from a print marked by Aerofilms Ltd for photo editing. - Britain from Above

Monday, May 16, 2016

History of Lock Tools, Ltd.

Lock Tools, Ltd. was a secondary brand of William Hunt & Sons, The Brades, Ltd. Lock Tools was incorporated 8 Nov. 1940, with the address of City Road, Brades, Oldbury. It was independent in later years and dissolved in 1982. Their label featured Lock Tools Ltd. in a circle, with City Road Oldbury in large type around the outside of the circle.

Although the office address was City Road, the Brades steel works was southeast of Brades Rd. where it crosses the Birmingham Canal. The area remains industrial today, although the only visibly old structure on the site is the iron fence along Brades Rd. Brades Tavern is just up the road.
Lock Tools, Ltd.  brick hammer 
Quote from comments:

This was my family's business started by my grandfather and his business partner. It was not a sub brand of William Hunt and Sons in the latter years being solely owned by my Grandfather Uncle and father. By a quirk of fate I now live near to the factory and the old office block still remains. The business was dissolved in 1982. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

History of Ward & Payne, Ltd.

The Illustrated Guide to Sheffield, 1879
Ward and Payne, Ltd., Limbrick Works, Hillsborough, Sheffield made many types of forged hand tools during its long existence. These included brick trowels and various chisels for masonry. Its 1953 Price List included "shears, secateurs, trowels, forks, cultivators, dibblers, hooks, hoes, rakes, spades, shovels, chisels, pliers, pincers, adzes, hatchets, choppers, augers, bits, drills, braces, try squares, levels, gauges, turnscrews, spokeshaves, saws, bradawls, punches, blades, planes, caulking irons, scrapers, plumb bobs, masons tools, hammers, pincers, needles, spanners, grips, calipers, vices, cramps, stops, compasses, dividers, ladles, mallets, wedges, knives, groovers, figure and letter marks, oil cans, glue pots." Earlier, they also made wood chisels, files, razors, axes, and washer cutters. Their tools were labeled Ward & Payne or Ward, both with a trademark of 2 crossed hammers over an anvil.

David Ward (about 1767-1822) founded the edge tool forging business in 1803. When his son Edward Ward (1813-1842) joined, the company name changed to David Ward & Co. Edward Ward's brother-in-law Henry Payne, an established edge tool maker, joined Ward and registered the Ward & Payne trademark in 1843. After Edward Ward's premature death in 1842, his share was put in a trust until his son David Ward (1834-1889) came of age. Payne died in 1850, and his widow briefly retained an interest in the firm, but this apparently passed to the Ward trustees. Under the second David Ward, Master Cutler and Mayor of Sheffield, the company achieved its greatest success. His obituary in the American magazine Hardware is quoted at the bottom.

In 1828, Ward was on Portobello St., in 1841 their address was 95-97 Trippet Lane, and by 1860 they were at 110 West St., where they retained offices at 112-114 West St. as late as 1905. In 1882 they bought Limbrick Wheel (also called Limerick Wheel) in Hillsborough on the River Loxley, a site damaged in the Great Sheffield flood. They rebuilt it as Limbrick Works, using water to power the grinding wheels.

Ward & Payne, Limbrick Works, 1948, center right
To see Ordnance Survey maps of Limbrick Wheel and Works from 1853 to 1963, go to this page at Old-Maps.

In 1967, Wilkinson Sword Ltd. purchased the whole of the share capital of Ward and Payne Ltd., and continued to sell Ward & Payne tools. The works was destroyed by fire about 1970, and housing was built on the site. This Google Street View is from Limbrick Close, looking across the Loxley.

Further up the Loxley outside Sheffield, Pro-Roll Ltd. operates a hand rolling mill dating to 1882, Little Matlock Rolling Mill. Steel bar stock for forged tools was rolled in the same way, as Pro-Roll's video shows. Another YouTube video, Record Tools Sheffield my time in the forge, shows chisels being forged from bar stock.

For more information about Ward & Payne, see Picture SheffieldGrace's Guide, and WK Fine Tools.

General Directory of the Town and Borough of Sheffield, 1845
Ward brick bolster
Ward & Payne brick trowel

Ward drill
The Engineer, 22 Dec 1882
An interesting item of the week is the purchase of the Limerick Wheel, from the Sheffield Water Company, by Alderman David Ward, of the firm of Ward and Payne, West-street.  The Limerick Wheel is situated near Malin Bridge, which was brought into prominence at the great Sheffield flood in 1864, and from that day has remained a total wreck.  It consists of over eleven acres of freehold land, with all the ashlar, stone, and other building material on the ground.  It is Mr. Ward’s intention to rebuild the Wheel, and erect extensive works for the further development of the steel, sheep-shear, and edge-tool branches of his business, and if he pleased he could transfer the whole of his great undertaking to the locality, and thus have at liberty for mercantile establishments the property in West-street, which is one of the most valuable in the town.  In 1864 Mr. Joseph Barker, one of the proprietors of Limerick Wheel, was lost in the flood, which caused the drowning of 240 persons and the destruction of property to the value of half a million sterling.

David Ward's obituary:
Announcement is made by Ward & Payne, the well-known manufacturers of Sheep-Shears, &c., Sheffield, England, of the death of their senior, Mr. David Ward, on the 18th ult.  Mr. Ward was in vigorous health at the time of his death, which was very sudden.  He was born on the 8th of December, 1884, and was therefore in the fifty-fifth year of his age.  Mr. Ward had been from an early period connected with the above firm.  His grandfather was the founder of the establishment, and upon his death in 1822 the business passed into the hands of his son, who prior to his death in 1842 admitted Henry Payne into partnership.  At the time of his father’s death Mr. Ward was but eight years old, and owing to his minority the business was conducted for some years by trustees.  When he at length assumed active control of the firm its development was very rapid and gratifying.  The business was largely extended and new lines of manufacture added.  The Carving Tool trade of S. J. Addie, of London, was purchased, and these goods soon occupied a high place in the market.  The manufacture of Sheep-Shears was subsequently undertaken and their introduction energetically pushed until the product of the firm acquired a world-wide reputation.  Another important extension was the manufacture of Spades, Shovels, and similar goods at Limbrick Wheel.  In the management of the varied departments of this large establishment Mr. Ward displayed rare abilities, and the present high standing of the firm is largely due to his untiring industry and indefatigable enterprise. Mr. Ward, after serving the office of Senior Warden of the Cutlers’ Company, was installed Master Cutler in 1877, which office he might have held at a much earlier date, but the honor was declined by him.  Mr. Ward was also elected to various municipal offices in Sheffield, and was at one time its mayor.  The duties of these several positions were discharged with honor and credit and a painstaking fidelity to the best interests of his constituents.  Mr. Ward’s devotion to business was tempered by a rare love for sport.  He was an excellent shot and spent much of his leisure time in shooting at his moors at Lady Cross.  Mr. Ward was much devoted to his family, a man of marked benevolence and conscientious purpose, and his death will be mourned by a very numerous circle of friends. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

History of Charles Hammond & Son

Charles Hammond & Son was one of several forged hand tool manufacturers in the Philadelphia, PA area in the 19th and early 20th century. Hammond made many styles of hatchets, axes, brick and hand drilling hammers, and a variety of other hammers. Their lesser quality brands were Ogontz Tool Co. and Tacony Solid Steel. Hammond tools are highly regarded by collectors, and the business closed before suffering the quality decline that afflicted many makers in the late 20th century. Charles Hammond & Son's 1910 catalog is scanned for free download or for sale at

C. Hammond drilling hammer
Charles R. Hammond was born 22 June 1805 in Newton, Massachusetts, the tenth child of Thomas Hammond and Sarah Winchester Hammond. In 1809, Hammond's parents moved the family to the Shaker Religious Community in Harvard, Massachusetts, officially joining it 10 Jan 1811. This is where Charles grew to manhood and where he would have learned blacksmithing. Charles left the Shaker Religious Community on 17 Apr 1824, moving to Boston where he worked in manufacturing. Then he moved to Delaware County, PA, near Darby, where he began making cobbler's hammers and other tools required by shoemakers.

About 1844, Charles had accumulated the capital for a larger operation, and bought a former textile mill on a bend in Tacony Creek, also spelled Tookany Creek, in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, PA, near Philadelphia. He rebuilt the buildings to produce hammers, hatchets, and other forged tools, using his name C. Hammond. The business remained at this location until it closed in the 1930s. Originally the area was rural with many small industries along the creek. In contrast to most early tool works, Hammond was not in a town or even on a named road or railroad. As the surrounding population increased, the location's name changed from Shoemakertown to Ogontz and again to Elkins Park. Even today, there is no public road that runs through the tool works location.

It's important to note that the Tacony Creek location, area name changes, and Hammond's early use of abbreviated "Philadelphia" on tools has caused confusion with Hammond's location. Tacony Creek flows through Philadelphia, changing names to Frankford Creek, emptying into the Delaware River next to the Betsy Ross Bridge. Tacony Creek gave its name to Tacony, the Philadelphia neighborhood  further up the Delaware River where Henry Disston & Sons were located. Hammond had a sales office in 1871 at 13 N. 5th St., near Market St., and in 1901 rented an office at 523 Philadelphia Bourse. However, there is no indication in the historical record that Hammond's tool works were ever located anywhere than in the unincorporated area of Montgomery County.

In 1852, Charles made his son Charles Jr. a partner, and renamed the business Charles Hammond and Son. Charles Jr. was born in Boston, MA, 14 Oct. 1831, and learned all aspects of the business from his father. After Charles died 14 Feb. 1874, Charles Jr. continued to run it as his father had. With increasing demand, he expanded the works to cover 6 acres, with all critical building made of stone.

Charles Jr. died 6 Sept. 1899, and was lauded as an exemplary man in all ways, as his father had been. "Mr. Hammond displayed in marked degree the traits of character and tastes which characterized the father. Like him he was held in genuine regard in all circles in which he moved. He held an assured and influential position among the manufacturers of his state, who recognized in him a capable and resourceful man of affairs. He was the soul of honor in every relation of life, and was among the foremost in promoting the welfare of the community by personal effort, example and generous contribution of his means."

C. Hammond & Son, Hexamer Survey, 1877
The business then passed to Hubert Rosseau Hammond (6 Nov. 1835 to 1 Jan 1909), the son of Moses Winchester Hammond, the sixth child of Thomas and Sarah Hammond. Hubert married Sarah E. Yerkes on 31 Jan. 1859, and it's possible she was related to Jonathan Yerkes, of  Yerkes and Plumb, Philadelphia. This 2-page Pennsylvania state report gives various facts about forged tool makers and their employees in 1906.
C. Hammond brick hammer
At Hubert's death, control went to Charles Hammond Culin (1 Oct. 1867 to 27 Nov 1943). Culin was the brother of Emma F. Culin, Mrs. Charles Hammond Jr. Culin's father George F. Culin (b. 1832) had befriended the elder Hammond and the Culin family was living with Hammond in 1870. By 1880, George F. Culin was bookkeeper for the tool works.

During this period business declined, according to state records. In 1916 the works employed 48 men and 1 woman, and 5 in the office. In 1920 it was 43 men in the works and 5 office, and 1922 only 32 men in the works and 4 office.

Earl Culin Hammond (1890-1968), Charles and Emma's only son, was also a member of the firm when he registered for the World War I draft. In the 1930 US Census, his occupation was "Manufacturer, Tools", meaning that the business was still operating. In 1940, he had changed occupations to "Assistant Director, School of Music".  

Charles H. Culin's 1930 occupation was also "Manufacturer, Tools". By the 1940 US Census, he had retired, with the business presumably closed. His home at 220 Church Rd. was adjacent to the entrance to the tool works. The house is well-preserved and there is a well-worn grindstone at the left, where a private drive leads back to several secluded houses on the Charles Hammond and Son site. At least 2 of these are converted tool works buildings. Identical stone walls and pillars mark several properties surrounding the former Hammond property, on Church Rd., New Second St., and Harrison Ave. This suggests that the Hammond family and their employees built houses next to their workplace, and that the Hammonds appreciated stone masonry.           

As an aside, the elder Charles's older brother Thomas Hammond (1791-1880) wrote the music to several Shaker hymns, and 8 musical works total.